(NaturalNews) An aquaculture company has used artificial flavorings to give its farmed fish the taste of wild-caught pollock.
"It met 10 out of our 10 taste parameters," said Norbert Sporns, president and chief executive officer of HQ Sustainable Maritime Industries (HQSM).
HQSM has signed a joint development agreement with the Beijing division of Newly Weds Foods Inc. to market the "sea flavor" tilapia, which is processed to give it both the texture and flavor of wild-caught Alaska pollock, a northern Pacific whitefish that is the favored ingredient in fish sticks, fish fillets and similar products, as well as imitation crab meat.
In addition to the ease of processing and storing Alaska pollock, the fish is popular because of its mild flavor and low oil content. It has been called the largest remaining wild fish source in the world, and 3 million tons are caught every year. But in recent years, Alaska pollock fisheries appear to have begun to decline.
While the prices of wild-caught fish of all species continue to rise as fisheries around the world collapse from overfishing, pollution and climate change, the fast food industry -- one of the major purchasers of fish in the United States -- has continued to buy wild-caught fish for the simple reason that it tastes better. It is largely this industry that is targeted by the HQSM-brand "TiLoveYa" tilapia. HQSM reports that it is currently negotiating distribution deals with a number of fast-food chains.
In addition to cost, HQSM is marketing the artificially flavored tilapia as an environmentally friendly alternative to other farmed or wild-caught fish. HQSM tilapia are raised in ponds without prophylactics or antibiotics, preventing contamination of wild fish stocks. Because tilapia are herbivores that eat algae, they need not be fed with wild-caught fish and are therefore exposed to less in the way of ocean pollutants such as PCBs.